Australia’s national day is fraught with issues. Especially the name of it. But fundamentally it is becoming more contentious – and rightly so it seems – as an occasion that represents all Australians. Indigenous Australians find it quite untenable, for good reason, and call it Invasion Day.
As an Anglo-Australian, to me January 26th commemorates the founding of the modern state of Australia with the arrival of the First Fleet at Port Jackson. As we all know now better than we have in the past, this event marked the start of a huge tragedy and injustice to indigenous people here. Currently, these issues are whitewashed by a celebration of multiculturalism which downplays the First Fleet and the invasion. This does a disservice to both white and black Australians. There seems to be an inability to address the issues head on. Why are we so paralyzed? It is not easy to reach consensus when the issues are many and contentious in an in-cohesive society.
In light of this, I am glad to see some debate arising about changing Australia Day. The day itself is a most apt occasion to exercise our democratic tradition of discussion and perspective-sharing, with a view to a better outcome. Therefore, I encourage you to invite your friends, family and neighbours to a celebration of Anglo-Celtic Australian culture, which embraces change, on a day that is significant to Ango-Celts. Bring something Aussie – food, music, poetry and an opinion about Australia Day and a national day of unity and celebration. Ideas for food include: 4n20 pies, Vegemite, prawns, chiko rolls, dim sims, kangaroo snags, Gaytimes and Splices, pavlova, Coopers Ultra lite or Sobah beer, Aussie wine… and don’t forget the veges on skewers and salad!
If you’re holding a BBQ or gathering on the back lawn, here’s an educational general knowledge quiz you can use to liven things up: